By Jose Martinez
Photos Courtesy of Paramount Pictures
Academy Award-winning director Martin Scorsese (Goodfellas, The Departed, Taxi Driver) and Academy Award nominee Leonardo DiCaprio (Titanic, The Great Gatsby) have reunited for their fifth collaboration, and they’re generating major Oscar buzz in Hollywood. This time, the dynamic filmmaking duo team up to tell the true story of wealthy New York stockbroker Jordan Belfort in the exciting drama The Wolf of Wall Street.
In the 1990’s, Jordan Belfort (DiCaprio) rose to riches as a large-living and party-animal stockbroker whose involvement in corruption and crime led to his eventual demise when he steadfastly declined to take part in a major securities fraud trial. At nearly three-hours long, and based on Belfort’s memoir The Wolf of Wall Street, this sure-to-be-a-blockbuster has many people in Hollywood talking about Leonardo DiCaprio (who’s been Oscar-nominated three times already) finally winning a Best Actor Academy Award. Joining Scorsese and DiCaprio to bring this epic tale to the big screen are Jonah Hill, Matthew McConaughey, Jon Favreau, Spike Jonze and Rob Reiner.
Years in the making, the Paramount Pictures’ films was originally a Warner Bros. project back in 2008 when the studio actually dropped out of a Scorsese/DiCaprio film in the making. But at some point last year, Leo reached out to the acclaimed filmmaker regarding the film.
“I told Marty, ‘I don’t think we’ll be able to do a movie like this too many times in the future,’ ” DiCaprio has said. “Larger-scale, R-rated dramas, like Blood Diamond or The Departed, don’t really get financed anymore.” Luckily for us the film got green lit because it looks like a fascinating drama just perfect for the holiday season. “When Marty couldn’t do it the first time, I set it up with a few other directors, but I never felt comfortable pulling the trigger,” DiCaprio has been quoted as saying. “I was fixated on him. There wasn’t anybody else who could bring the rawness and toughness, the music, and particularly the humor required to convey the excitement of these young punks—these robber barons—taking on the Wall Street system.”
Based on Jordan Belfort’s memoir of the same name, the story chronicles the former stockbroker’s rise and fall as the head of Stratton Oakmont, a brokerage house he founded when he was only in his late twenties. The Long Island–based boiler room bamboozled small investors out of roughly $100 million in the 90s. In 1998, Belfort was indicted for securities fraud and money laundering, serving 22 months in prison after cooperating with the FBI.
“The book personified America’s addiction to obtaining wealth at all costs, and that hasn’t changed,” DiCaprio has said. “He was a small fish in a gigantic pond, and he’d motivate his guys by telling them they were heroes for taking on the big houses. Unregulated Wall Street was like the Wild West. There was nothing Jordan wouldn’t divulge, no matter how intimate or embarrassing. That was the attraction for Marty as well—it’s the kind of brutal honesty that got Marty into making movies like Mean Streets.”
“Jordan was a brilliant guy in a world where there may be no morality whatsoever,” Scorsese has said in previous interviews. “He got caught at what a lot of people didn’t get caught at. If you look at what occurred in the world of finance—many times now and it will probably happen again—you really have to ask the questions: Is dishonesty acceptable? Aren’t people expected to go too far?”
Expect to see fast living, excessive partying, high drama and of course big stars in The Wolf of Wall Street. There will also be corruption, crime, and greed, as well as Wall Street and the mafia. I cannot think of a more capable director to balance these elements and helm this project than Martin Scorsese, and thinking back on his past collaborations with DiCaprio—Gangs of New York, The Aviator, The Departed, Shutter Island—I cannot wait to see what they’re going to do with this one!
The Wolf of Wall Street opens in theaters on Christmas Day.
Photo 1: Leonardo DiCaprio parties it up in The Wolf of Wall Street, Photo 2: Margot Robbie plays Naomi Lapaglia, Photo 3: Jonah Hill as Donnie Azoff, and Photo 4: Jonah Hill and Leonardo DiCaprio star in The Wolf of Wall Street